Have you ever Zentangled? (This new concept may be old hat to you, but just in case …)

Don’t let the term trap you into logical interpretations.

No claustrophobia intended.

On the contrary,

this type of tangling is all about freeing … your mind.

Zentangle® is a mesmerizing method of structured doodling created by calligrapher Maria Thomas and her husband, Rick Roberts.


Image courtesy of Zentangle.com

Let’s put it into context:

You’ve been known to scribble and swirl on scraps of paper when talking on the phone, yes?

Well, Zentangle takes this kind of drawing to a whole new level of artistry-meets-meditation.

And anyone can do it, even people who insist they can’t draw.


Image courtesy of Craft Chick http://craftchick.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/whats-a-zentangle/

“We love presenting to a class or seminar full of people who are convinced they can’t draw the Zentangle art we show them. Then, within 15 minutes, they have easily accomplished what they thought was impossible,” Maria says. “This is one of our favorite Zentangle moments, because then we ask, ‘What else do you know that you can’t do?’ You can transfer that insight and experience of success and accomplishment to any life experience. Something may look complicated, but you now know that you can do it, one simple stroke at a time.”


Image courtesy of the Greeley County Library http://greeley.mykansaslibrary.org/zentangle-classes/

Creating a Zentangle is as simple as drawing one simple pattern after the next, and fitting them together.


Images courtesy of Montreal Art Therapy http://blog.montrealarttherapy.com/?tag=zentangle


Images courtesy of Montreal Art Therapy http://blog.montrealarttherapy.com/?tag=zentangle

But Rick and Maria don’t just kick you out in the cold with a pen and expect you to scribble your way to Zen.

That could be … frustrating … which is SO not the goal.

Maria explains that the “very act of putting your pen to paper focuses your attention in a special way. As your eye follows your pen strokes, your attention shifts to a state that allows fresh thoughts, new perspectives, and creative insights to flow unhindered by anxiety or effort.”

So, how does one learn the art of Zentangle?

Maria and Rick have designed a Zentangle Kit that contains drawing tools and instructions on how to dive into meditative doodling. One item the kit does not contain? An eraser.

“There is no eraser in life and there is no eraser in a Zentangle Kit,” declares the website. “However, in creating Zentangle art (and in living life), you will discover that apparent mistakes can be foundations for new patterns and take you in unexpected and exciting new directions.”


Image courtesy of Zentangle.com

You can also take a Zentangle class from a certified instructor near you.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This whole idea is new to me but it is fascinating how it all works. I can see how it would be relaxing because it would be totally absorbing while you were doing it.

  2. CJ Armstrong says:

    Zentangle art is something that my daughter, Robin, has taken up and currently makes some wonderful cards with her artwork. She’s getting quite creative with it and enjoys it immensely. I’m sure that she would have a lot of insight to offer here . . . if she see’s the post.

    But it is easy, it doesn’t require a lot of supplies and there are a lot of books available to help inspire and give tips on designs. I’ve just ordered a couple different ones for her that we were looking at together recently while on our road trip.

  3. Theresa says:

    Last week I picked up the book “Joy of Zentangle” as something for summer, when the kids say “I’m bored” . The boys and I have been working on this sporaticly throughout the day. Imagine my surprise when I saw your post on facebook this morning. : ) We are having fun, it is very relaxing. My sons are 16 and 14, it’s not ‘baby-ish” to them. You can create a little masterpiece in 30 minutes, or just take your time with it and come back to it when you have the time. I love it!

  4. Kimberly Owens says:

    I can’t wait to show this to my middle school students! Love this

  5. Darlene Ricotta says:

    Zentangling! I love it, I got into Zentangling about a year ago on one of the swaps on MJF and have been working on different ones since. I went on a trip up to Washington by train and Zentangled my memories of my trip. It was fun and I had a great tangle from my trip.
    There is so much you can do with it.

  6. TammyJo says:

    My sister Connie gave me your mag. With a story about a cancer patent using these
    way of draw and medataion. I am Breast cancer patent in need of something to take me away mentally. I ordered the starter kit and never looked back. I’ve gone places in my mind I didn’t know where there. They
    gifts I share and I use them as way to encourage others. We talk and share and the Zen move on from me to those I meet anywhere.

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